A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human.
Mitochondria are the powerpacks that fuel every human cell, and just like the nucleus, they contain DNA. Unfortunately, inherited defects in mitochondrial DNA can cause severe or even fatal results. To overcome this problem, scientists extract two eggs—one from the mother and one from a donor. The nucleus of the donor egg is removed, leaving the mitochondria intact, and replaced by the mother’s nucleus. The resulting embryo is free from the inherited defect, resulting in a potentially healthy baby—albeit it with three parents.
The technique is considered controversial by some because of the unorthodox number of parents. But bear in mind that a scant 0.1 percent of genetic information is being transferred by the donor. This concern is basically a non-issue, and people need to get over it. Also, this is not the first time that a baby has been born with three parents; it simply marks the first time it’s been done using this new technique.